AUSTRALIA has been transformed from a nation of spenders to scrooge-like savers as households strive to pay off debt.


Almost 40 per cent per cent of the population deem themselves thrifty, 15 per cent admit they need a budget and 9 per cent say they are spenders, according to a study commissioned by MasterCard. The survey describes thrifty as a person who is good with saving money and always on the hunt for a bargain, while a spender is a person who lives and spends in the moment and doesn’t worry about the future.


About one in four respondents say they would benefit if they armed themselves withfrom a budget so they could better manage their finances. MasterCard Australia country manager Andrew Cartwright says the fact most say they are thrifty with their money highlights their continued focus on shaving down their debt. “We are seeing record repayments of credit cards and that shows consumers are wanting to pay down debt,’’ he says. “We are continuing to see high demand for credit cards with low interest rates and or no annual fees.”


“There are plenty of those credit cards on offer, especially low-rate cards, so the personalities are consistent with the demand for new credit card products.” Reserve Bank of Australia statistics showed in December the nation owed $50.1 billion on plastic and $34.5 billion was accruing interest. Repayment levels on cards have significantly increased.


In December, Australians paid off $25.3 billion on plastic compared with $23.1 billion
12 months earlier.